back to article Pentagon world-sim tool making good progress, say profs

Computer boffins in America report that their plans to create a lifelike virtual Matrix-style simulation of the entire world and human race are proceeding well. Rather than a sinister yet totally implausible plan to farm people in tanks for electric power, the idea here is that America might try out various national-security …

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OK Mr grumpy.

Personally I think this is pretty cool and could also be very useful as a tool to aid decision making. AI has been pretty handy for us scientists for a while, why not get the politicos to have a go. They might learn something.

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So, not unlike...

... futuristic massive game of Civ then?

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Family Guy Moment???

Stewie: You said I didn't have it in me to kill Lois, so I was just running a simulation to find out exactly how killing her and taking over the world would play out for me.

Brian: Yeah? How'd that go?

Stewie: Not well, Brian. Not well. I suppose I'm not ready to kill Lois or take over the world… yet.

Brian: So, what you're saying is that what you experienced in the simulation didn't really happen, or even matter?

Stewie: Yes, that's correct.

Brian: So, it was sort of like a dream?

Stewie: No, it was a simulation.

Brian: Yes, but, theoretically, if someone watched the events of that simulation from start to finish, only to find out that none of it really happened, I mean… you don't think, that would, j-- be just like a giant middle finger to them?

Stewie: Well, hopefully, they would have enjoyed the ride.

Brian: I don't know, man. I think you'd piss a lot of people off that way.

(Brian leaves)

Stewie: Well, at least it didn't end like The Sopranos, where it just cut to black in mid-sen--

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If its anything like The Sims

It won't be long until the profs put people into rooms with no doors and a single fireplace.

Will the yanks also want a torture (sorry non-torture)/water-boarding section, just so thay can work out the best, err most effective means of torturing people.

Won't somebody think of the sub-routines?

This reminds me of the original Star Trek series, where computers fought the wars and people were told when to report to the killing booths so the was simulation was kept accurate.

Sigh - welcome to the future everyone.

ttfn

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Alternatively

Just set up a zogging great old skool tabletop wargame using with General US-A using pieces representing the known forces deployed in the region and General Them-B using pieces based on military intel of the suspected/known enemy forces in the area.

Sort of a mix between tabletop wargames, "Risk" and "War on Terror: the boardgame" - it would be cheaper and have better AI... probably.

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Sounds like psychohistory

and about as plausible. At least Asimov didn't pretend he was doing anything other than writing entertaining fiction.

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Daft

I can't help thinking that when the simulation suggest undesired option x has a high percentage chance of being the outcome, the people running the simulation will be told to tweak it until it gives the desired answer.

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Pint

*headdesk*

As someone whose line of work is simulation, I have lost track of how many times I've been told that my results can't be true because someone thinks that It Can't Be True.

I finally hit my limit, and told them in no uncertain terms that I could make up any results they wanted, but if they wanted the truth, they'd have to believe what I came up with.

A pint, because I've had to use liquid therapy on many occasions.

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Ummm

I don't think so. Most Americans can't even get into a British or Canadian mindset (think about the current debates on health care, gun ownership, and the death penalty).

How are the Pentagon (not exactly the most open-minded of Americans) going to effectively simulate Muslims, Africans, Arabs, South-east Asians, etc. Let alone the smaller but still very significant differences between (say) Afghans, Pakistanis, Iranians, Uzbekis and Kazakhs. And then You have to simulate the different tribes / communities in these countries, plus differences due to city / town / village / farm upbringing, and education, religious background, nationalism / tribalism, and so on.

It's a great idea, and it would be fine if it worked. I just worry about the military mind's tendency to depend on an intelligence analysis (or in this case a computer) predicting what the 'emeny' (and for that matter what the local 'friendlies') will do, based on a very incomplete understanding of the people involved.

People were surprised what Hitler did, even though they read his books. Nobody thought Vietnam would be the quagmire it was, nor Afghanistan nor Iraq.

He/she who does not learn from history is bound to repeat it...

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Happy

Ummm

I don't think so. Most Reg readers can't even get into a US mindset* (think about the current debates on use of the term "American", spelling of "colo[u]r", etc).

How is a Commentard (not exactly the most open-minded of Reg readers) going to effectively visualize the Pentagon trying simulate Muslims, Africans, Arabs, South-east Asians, etc...

* a fact for which many of them are, sadly, delusionally happy.

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Unhappy

Reductionist fallacy again, as usual

@Chris,

Agreed. Just working for yank IT companies showed me their ability to think, understand or even comprehend that the world is not a USA suburb is zero.

occasional Individually clever, rarely wise, collectively stupid as a nation is my organic assessment. No C code required.

BTW I note TMFM is back. Nice to see incomprehensible jargon that is not reminicient of management babble.

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WTF?

War Games

How about a nice game of chess?

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@SirronTM

I think the only winning move might be not to play...

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Big Brother

Human rights

What should not be lost here is that if this sim is entirely accurate, the components, and well, citizens of the sim may indeed be blessed with access to the Matrix trilogy to ensure that the historical makeup of the simulation is accurate. Indeed it would be a strange realisation for them if they wake up one day to discover they are components in a simulation watching a bizarrely realistic movie about people that are components in a simulation...

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Reminds me of a book i read

Web Site Story by Robert Rankin

If you have read it.. You will know what i mean ;-)

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FAIL

The problem with simulating the world

Is that the simulator cannot be IN the world or it will in fact have to simulate itself, which in turn ...

It's going to be one hell of a stack overflow though :)

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Headmaster

Simple answer, Don't use C...

That's why you use a stack machine, and do the simulation of the simulation (ad nausium) last... that way it's tail-recursion, which can be optimized to have no effect on the stack!

Silly C programmers, not understanding how the system really works.

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Go

The residents of simulated worlds...

I seem to remember an interesting argument that suggested that if people in a simulated world could be self-aware and could create in turn simulations of their own world that would behave in the same way recursively then statistically speaking it's more likely that we live in a simulation than in a "real" world. Whatever real might mean in this context.

I wonder what will happen when it's invited to play a game called global thermonuclear war...

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Stop

They couldn't even manage their own economy [*]

per title

[*] or us ours for that matter.

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This post has been deleted by its author

School boy error...

Expecting someone at El-Reg to read something befor alowing it to be posted on a Friday. After lunch.

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Grenade

The simulation played for 5 days

estimated all the best possible outcomes and came up with one result that would bring victory.

On the 11th of April 2011, Skynet launches nuclear weapons at russia.......

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Black Helicopters

Call of Duty 8

"What do you mean our boys are getting kiled out there?

They didn't have this problem in the sim"

It's when they hook it up to all the smart devices the grunts wear that we need to get worried. "Hey, these avatars are really lifelike"

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I don't believe this is real...

...on account of it not having a ridiculously contrived acronymic name.

I am proposing "Cascading Linear Interpretation TOol Running Integrated Stochastics".

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When? ...

Surely its chaotic? ... If they piss off one very vocal prominent opponent, then that person can influence a lot of public opinion in their country (simply as they are able to speak to so many people, e.g. someone famous on TV). Also if a country is primed to rebel through years of hardship, then opponent voices will propagate like a growing fire.

But then I guess I shouldn't be helping them, as their plans for world domination via police state are progressing well enough already.

But here's an idea. How about all countries stop trying to meddle and control other countries for their own gain. (After all they wouldn't like it done to them). Surely they have enough power (and personal gain) in their own country, without having to also keep extending their reach and influence into other countries as well. How many more wars are we all to suffer. How many more people have to suffer and die just so the control freaks can keep relentlessly extending their personal gain for themselves at the expense (literally) of everyone else. When will the control freaks ever show some morality and empathy towards others instead of their blind rush towards ever more greed for power and personal gain.

What they need to do with this simulation is to simulate a world without the bullying arrogant control freaks anywhere in the world, to identify them as the real danger all around the world, then we all need to move to police the control freaks to remove them all from any power worldwide, to finally make war obsolete. Only then will we ever have a better world. :(

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Gates Horns

Yes but...

...can Keanu Reeves fly in this virtual world?

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Too Much Data!

Dunno about that, but he had an awful bad headache in Johnny Mnemonic...

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Risk

I'd always be under the impression that the US military used Risk as its war-simulation tool.

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@deadlockvictim

More like Top Trumps.

Iraq WMDs 0 vs USA WMDs 5,535

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Coat

SimWorld 2009

Every time my own world simulation is run, I sell the gold reserves at an all time low, run into perpetual recession, bailing out banks and do nothing as an incentive to keep the manufacturing industry running, everyone ends up working for Freshcos by 2012.

My advisor keeps telling me this:

http://img131.yfrog.com/i/5d6.jpg/

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FAIL

Multiple Worlds Fail

I wrote an essay like this for a philosophy lesson once that got a low mark, basically because a pleb like me dared to disagree with the academic spouting from the textbox.

Not that I am bitter, but I theorised that a computer bigger and more powerful than the universe could accurately model the universe, therefore could anticipate everything that will happen, therefore there is no multiple worlds theory, as basically everything that occurs is a result of all the causing factors as can be simulated.

For example, knowing the exact atom structure, temperature, humidity of the lottery machine and balls, the timing between the release and choosing mechanisms, the effects of gravity of every single other atom in the universe, you can predict the lottery numbers.

As Derren Brown proved :)

(And don't give me that about quantum theory!)

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Stop

@Multiple Worlds Fail

On the contrary, AC, if a computer bigger and more powerful than the universe could accurately model the universe then any number of simulations could be being run in parallel ( or in sequence, the effect is the same ) to explore different potentialities. In that case there is a very sound explanation for multiple worlds theory. If it is run on quantum computers then that could explain the whole quantum physics thing in one go.

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Boffin

Simulation argument

@breakfast, 13:30 GMT: You're thinking of Bostrom's simulation argument - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simulated_reality#Arguments .

AC @15:01 -- the low mark was deserved. Firstly it's known that it's impossible to produce future predictions in principle, /even with perfect knowledge of the position & velocity of all particles/, and it's not necessary to resort to quantum mechanics to prove this. Secondly you can't hypothesise a computer outside the universe; if it exists, it's in the universe and would therefore have to recursively simulate itself.

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Anonymous Coward

It's a sad day

When having run out of the common sense that tells most of us what the likely outcome would be of us invading someone else's country, we have to invent a machine to model it for us.

I mean really? They don't know? really??

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Coffee/keyboard

It's a scam

They're just playing a modded version of Republic: The Revolution they got in the bargain bin.

Press Esc to leave the simulation.

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Unhappy

Sounds a good idea

But the odds are some of the sims of foreign countries will be laughable (to nationals from those countries)

And when it doesn't give the answers its masters want the operators will be told to fiddle the numbers till they do.

All in all i suspect many of the problems that wheather sim has but possible with worse outcomes, as actual politcal types act on its predictions.

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Anonymous Coward

and the best bit

wait for the end of the Iraq inquiry, the whole mess will be justified for obtaining data for our new shiny simulation engine.

version 2.0 map pack Iran?

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Joke

something wrong

Dear Commentards.

You are off your game.

So much serious discussion here and for the non-humerous, a large measure of general agreement. Your lack of faith in technology, IT especially, disturbs me.

Where is the mindless love of big IT with huge Defence pork to keep AMD, Intel and Co booming ?

Maybe even some juicy years of work poducing petabytes of code ?

Where is the Flaming, the mindless hostility, the SIF and FOTW potential ?

The Moderatrix needs to be kept challenged. Oh, its beer o'clock. Cheers

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Pirate

Ze purpose of ze machine

Well, as I think the US is not under a direct threat of a full scale invasion, surely this system is to be used offensively rather than defensively.

Ergo, the US intents to invade, and invade again. And again?

Prepare for boarding indeed

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Welcome

To paraphrase an idea from Douglas Adams

"Indeed, groups among them might presumably decide - as part of their internal decision-making process - to develop a simulated world of their own."

There was another theory which suggested this had already happened.

Mat because I, for one, welcome our StOMA bearing overlords....

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Ah, now we find the use for the LHC

So what we're basically trying to create is something where they put a copy of The Truman Show, The Sims (game) and The Matrix into the LHC.

Then using the newly created wormhole they can generate this simulated world outside the current world / universe and thus get around the schrodinger's cat problem of watching the simulation causing the effects to be predictable. Presumably you then have to receive back the result through said wormhole.

So in theory if you run the right simulation all these predictions around El Reg comments sections about the mice in nazi uniform coming through from the LHC and taking over the world probably could come true...!

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FAIL

So...

So after they've spent all this time and money creating this, who wants to tell them about Second Life?

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WTF?

Fundamentally bollocks

About as useful as IFF

Can it predict human error and friendly fire (not always a human error)?

The weather? Market conditions? Some politician saying something stupid on TV and pissing off an entire nation or religion?

With such a burgeoning economy to deal with and a big smily face, it's reassuring to Obama is as much a tool of the military as the last president. Blind leading the blind after all.

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Badgers

Greetings Professor Falken, would you like to play a game?

http://www.2flashgames.com/f/f-551.htm

Don't worry, we'll all be saved from the hawks by Matthew Broderick.

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